Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The whole universe is a cosmic Burning Bush

All things are permeated and maintained in being by the uncreated energies of God, and so all things are a theophany that mediates his presence. At the heart of each thing is its inner principle or logos, implanted within it by the Creator Logo; and so through the logoi we enter into communion with the Logos. It is to discover through our spiritual intellect that the whole universe is a cosmic Burning Bush, filled with the divine Fire yet not consumed.  
The contemplation of nature has two correlative aspects. First it means appreciating the “thusness” or “thisness” of particular things, persons and moments. “True mysticism,” says Oliver Clement, “is to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.” Secondly, it means that we see all things, persons and moments as signs and sacraments of God. In our spiritual vision we are not only to see each thing in sharp relief, standing out in all the brilliance of its specific being, but we are also to see each thing as transparent: in and through each created thing we are to discern the Creator. 
Natural contemplation signifies finding God not only in all things but equally in all persons. When reverencing the holy ikons in church or at home, we are to reflect that each man and woman is a living ikon of God. “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). In order to find God, we do not have to leave the world, to isolate ourselves from our fellow humans, and to plunge into some kind of mystical world. On the contrary, Christ is looking at us through the eyes of all those whom we meet. 
Many people who find the imageless prayer of silence altogether beyond their present capacity, and for whom the familiar phrases written in Scripture or in the books of prayer have grown dull and dry, can renew their inward life through the practice of natural contemplation. Nature and Scripture complement each other. In the words of St Ephrem the Syrian: “Wherever you turn your eyes, there is God’s symbol; Whatever you read, you will find there his type. Look and see how Nature and Scripture are linked together. Praise for the Lord of Nature. Glory for the Lord of Scripture.”
- from Chapter 6 of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware’s The Orthodox Way 

No comments: